College Football Picks: Florida at LSU Odds and Predictions
Florida Gators at LSU Tigers, Saturday October 12, 8 p.m. ET
This is the second week in a row that I have written a preview of a Florida game, and we can only hope that this one goes better than last week's did. I have struggled to believe in the Gators all year despite their winning ways. But last week they did a whole lot to make that more difficult to do. They not only beat Auburn, but they absolutely dominated them in the second half of the game. It was impressive - especially given that they were playing their backup QB. But this game is just as hard for the Gators - harder, even, given that they have to go on the road this time. I still am not convinced that this team is completely for real. But if they pull off another win here, then I will have some real reckoning to do. But can they do that? Or is LSU just too much for the Gators - like I thought Auburn was?
Florida at LSU Betting Storylines
Joe Burrow is a fascinating story. Nothing is easy when it comes to trying to figure out what a quarterback is going to do in a given season, and Burros is proof. He's a fifth-year senior with a track record of playing over four seasons at two schools. Last year was his first as a full-time starter. And he was fine. Not great, but fine. But this year has been a dramatically different story. The most glaring change is that his completion percentage has leapt by more than 20 percent - from an underwhelming 57.8 last year, to a 78.4 percent rate that puts him right in the Heisman mix this year. He has thrown 22 touchdowns and just three picks, and he is at the helm of an offense that ranks second nationally in passing yards and first in points scored. Burrow didn't seem like a liability heading into this season, but he didn't stand out as a strength of the team. But he sure has been. And now he faces a very balanced defense that ranks fifth nationally in points allowed. This is by far the best defense that he has faced so far. But it is also by far the best quarterback that Florida has faced. Bo NIx is going to be good, but he isn't there yet, so the fact that Florida shut him down last week tells us little about what they will do against Burrow this week. Last year Burrow struggled against a Florida defense that wasn't as good as this one - 19 of 34 for 192 yards and two picks. But this isn't the same Burrow. And what you expect from him this year will be the biggest guide to what you do betting on this game.
There are plenty of X's and O's we could break down with Florida and lots of matchups we could look at. But I'm much more interested in the mental aspects of this team. A decade ago, this team won the Sugar Bowl to finish third overall in Urban Meyer's second-to-last year - the year after they had won their second national title in three years. And since then, the program has been lost. They had one decent year under Will Muschamp, but they just keep getting in their own way, and their mojo has been MIA. Last week's win was big - perhaps their biggest since Meyer was in town. And success has not come in bulk for this program. It's tough for any team to focus on a big opponent right after a big, emotional win. And harder still to trust that a team that has little recent experience in these situations to do it well.
Florida at LSU Odds and Betting Trends
The game opened with LSU favored by 13.5 points at home, and it has slipped a little to 13 points in early betting action . Almost two-thirds of bets have come in on Florida early on, so the line movement is consistent with expectations. The total opened at 54.5 and has climbed to 55.
The Gators are 5-2 ATS in their last seven road games and 6-2 ATS in their last eight played on grass. LSU is 12-3 ATS in their last 15 conference games and 20-8 ATS in their last 28 October games. The home team is 6-2 ATS in the last eight meetings between the teams, but Florida is 7-3 ATS in their last ten trips to Baton Rouge.
Florida at LSU Predictions and Picks
LSU is solidly the better team here, and their offense is going to be able to perform. But Florida should be able to stop them from scoring like they have to date, and the Gators will put some points up as well. I don't see a lot of value in this game on either side, but this is a lot of points, and I'd rather take them than give them up when we are dealing with two quality teams in solid form. The Gators are the bet against the spread - even if they wouldn't be straight up.
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